Politics / MP’s spaceport pay reflects ‘professional expertise’

West Midlands Tory MP Mark Garnier's paid position with Shetland Space Centre is under mounting scrutiny.

SAXAVORD Spaceport says an MP who is paid £2,500 a month for chairing its advisory board is a “highly valued” member of its team whose income is in line with industry norm.

Mark Garnier, who is the Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, said in his register of financial interests that he only spends around 10 hours a month on the role.

It comes amid national scrutiny of MPs’ other paid income after the resignation of Conservative Owen Paterson, who lobbied the government on behalf of companies who were paying him.

The basic annual salary of MPs is £81,932, and taking up other paid roles is within the rules. Payments of over £100 have to be declared.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said Garnier brings “extensive experience from his 17 years as an investment banker, his 10 years as an investment manager, and his wider experience in the space industry”.


“At this critical stage of our journey into space, he provides impartial advice and scrutiny into our funding and growth plans,” he said.

“His remittance reflects that professional expertise and is in line with sector and industry norms.”

Meanwhile Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has a relatively modest extra curricular income compared to some other politicians – £150 each time he attends a board meeting for the political House Magazine.

He also has an unremunerated role as director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.

The Liberal Democrat felt that the Owen Paterson matter had negatively affected the whole of politics, and that greater transparency was needed.

“I think now we need to get everybody round the table and we need to get a system that cannot be used in this way,” Carmichael said.

He said most weeks he might work 50 or 60 hours in his MP job, which was needed to do the role in a constituency like Orkney and Shetland – leaving little time anyway for a job on the side.

A recent YouGov poll showed that 63 per cent of people do not believe MPs should be allowed to take on extra paid work.

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